My Basic Home studio setup and question
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Old 06-18-2007   #1
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Default My Basic Home studio setup and question

Well I set up 2 AlienBees AB800. One in Large Photoflex softbox, the other in a Medium PhotoFlex Softbox. 2 poket wizards. One on the large softbox. The other on the Canon D20. I used my L358 with built in remote to measure the lights. The Large softbox on the right is set to 125 at f/8.0. The Medium is set to 125 at f/5.6. I measured each indivdually first. The combined result was 125 at f/8.0. I will cover the window in the future, for any ambient light. This was just to test seting up and basic light ratio.


Question
When I took the image my camera LCD display showed it was blown out or washed out. Lots of white. The image below is the orginal unedit of the picture of myself. It looks better then it did on the camera.The Histogram display on the camera showed nothing in the middle, more to the right, and left. Is my meter right or my camera not showing it right?






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Old 06-19-2007   #2
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Default Re: My Basic Home studio setup and question

it doesnt look like you have a lot of room but i would try pulling him further from the bg, if you can right in front of where you have the camera now. then set your shutter to 1/250 which is your sync speed, 100-200 iso, F11 for the main, F13 for the fill. then you wont have to worry about extra light coming in.
As for the histogram hopefully someone technical will stop by but your picture is mainly black and white so your histogram will reflect that hence nothing in the middle. your pic will never look as good in camera, i try to look at the pic on the pc then adjust my brightness on camera to match as closely as i can, which is a low as it will go.
at 1/250 you can also shoot without the tripod unless you are doing self portraits of course!
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Old 06-19-2007   #3
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Default Re: My Basic Home studio setup and question

Tim has answered your questions about the difficulty of evaluating an image using the camera's lcd and why the histogram shows more data on the ends rather than the middle.

Notice the double shadows, one on each side of the nose and the dual highlights in the pupils of the eyes? That's usually not a good thing. Having a light on each side of the camera creates a flat, unnattractive lighting because it doesn't show the form of the face. It looks like a passport or driver's license photo.

If you must use two lights on the subject, use one to the side as the main light and use the second light as a fill by placing it above the lens, on the lens axis. If your ceiling is too low for the fill to be above the lens then place it as high as you can, behind the camera.

Even better would be one light for the subject with a white card as fill and the second light to light the background. And more distance between the bkgd and subject would make it much easier to control the lighting on the background separately from the subject.

In your sample photo ypu've made the largest light the main light by powering it for f-8 while the smaller light is set as a fill light with less power at f-5.6. Use the smaller light for the main light ie: f-8, and the larger light for the fill at f-5.6.
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Old 06-19-2007   #4
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Default Re: My Basic Home studio setup and question

Thanks guys for the tips. I will readujust the lights, and do another practice.
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Old 06-19-2007   #5
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Default Re: My Basic Home studio setup and question

OK, that helped guys. I moved away from the background about 3 to 4 feet. The right main large softbaox is set at 250 @ f/11. The small left softbox is set 250 @ f/5.6. I moved the lights back about 3 to 4 feet as well. Camera setting in Manual 250 @ f/11. There were no blowout this time in the LCD display and Histogram was better.

I had my AB800 large soft box at full power giving it 250 @ f/11. Seems like it would be stronger then that at full power. I took the shoot without the shirt on to see what kind of skin contrast and tone I get. Yes I do have a little sun burn. The B&W was straight from the camera setting in the D20.



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Old 06-19-2007   #6
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Default Re: My Basic Home studio setup and question

OK, but you missed the point about using the small softbox as your main at the higher f:stop.
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Old 06-19-2007   #7
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Default Re: My Basic Home studio setup and question

Kgphoto - Yes I am trying that next and post that result as well. I have 4 AB800 on hand, barndoors, 5 n 1 reflector with boom arm, gels, etc. so have so much to play with right now.
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Old 06-20-2007   #8
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Default Re: My Basic Home studio setup and question

Question KG, why would you want to use the smaller box as the main? I have a large box to use as the main then umbrellas for the fill or grid or whatever i am playing with at the time. I dont turn it up the umbrellas as high as the main so it does just fill and not have the double shadow. i do this instead of bouncing just cuz it is easier for me to control the light.
Not that your way is wrong, I am just curious and always trying to learn.
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Old 06-20-2007   #9
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Default Re: My Basic Home studio setup and question

BW27,

Try this. Place one light behind the camera (back about six to eight feet away from the subject) up as high as you can get it (or with the bottom of the modifier at six feet off the floor.) With just that light on (it is called a fill light) adjust the power of the unit until your meter shows f 5.6. Then set up your main light at a 45 degree angle to the subject and meter it all alone. If your main light is slaved off of the fill simply step in front of the fill light at the subject (this will block the fill light from influencing the reading) and adjust the main until you have F 8 or F 11 whichever you prefer. This should be done by aiming the dome of the meter directly at the main light while holding it under the chin of the subject. Lastly step off to the opposite side from the main and fire both lights while you aim the meter directly at the main light with the dome of the meter under the subject's chin again. Shoot at that reading (it will probably be about 1/3rd stop more that the main light reading only.

As far as histograms, they will only tell you what the overall exposure for everything that is in the viewfinder. In portraiture this may or may not be valuable (probably not!) In portraiture you are mainly interested in correct exposure for the skin. Overexposed backgrounds can be fixed easily in Photoshop, overexposed skin may not be so easily fixed (or maybe not fixed at all!) I shoot Raw and then adjust my exposure in Bridge to give me 236 on the brightest diffused highlight on the skin (usually this is found on the forehead) and a 10 for the darkest shadow I want detail in.

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Old 06-20-2007   #10
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Default Re: My Basic Home studio setup and question

I agree with Benji in principle.
Your fill light should be placed at the camera axis.

But I wouldn't put it that high.
Fill light controls shadows. If it's too high, it won't affect shadows under the chin or nose.


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